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Park City Municipal Receives $3.7 Million For Electric Vehicle Upgrades

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The Utah Department of Environmental Quality awarded Park City Municipal money to replace some of its diesel buses, as part of the state’s $35 million share of the Volkswagen Clean Diesel Settlement. 

Park City Municipal has received nearly $3.7 million from the Department of Environmental Quality to upgrade diesel buses in the Park City Transit fleet to electric. The city is one of 14 government entities that were awarded money. Schools, municipal governments and state agencies were invited to apply for funding to replace old diesel vehicles to mitigate the effects of excess emissions from Volkswagen cars that were found in violation of the Clean Air Act. The DEQ received 50 applications and chose winners based on cost effectiveness and other community benefits.

Lisa Burr, an environmental planning consultant with the Utah Division of Air Quality, says Park City will use the money to replace six non-electric buses, adding to its growing electric fleet. As of this May, the city had 13 electric buses on regular routes, and Park City Transportation Director Alfred Knotts previously told KPCW the city fleet could be 100% electric by the year 2028.

In 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a multi-billion-dollar settlement after admitting to manipulating vehicle software to cheat emissions standard testing, resulting in the sale of cars that emitted up to 40 times the federally allowable level of nitrogen oxides in violation of the Clean Air Act. Nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals in the air to produce particulate matter and ozone, both of which are harmful to the respiratory system. In Utah, approximately 7,000 vehicles were affected. 70% of the vehicles were registered in Utah counties that don’t meet federal standards for air quality.

The 14 entities that received funding have three years to complete their upgrades. Park City, the Utah Transit Authority and the Salt Lake City School District will use the money to replace old diesel vehicles with electric, while the other recipients will replace them with new, clean diesel vehicles.